Good songs have sense of the literary Shabnam Mushtari | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 23, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 23, 2008

Good songs have sense of the literary Shabnam Mushtari

Shabnam Mushtari

From the late 1960s Shabnam Mushtari has emerged as one of the major stars in Nazrul songs. Here are excerpts from a conversation with her.
Why is it important for an artiste to conceive of the true meaning of a song?
Any good song essentially contains a sense of the literary. It is most important for an artiste to comprehend the true meaning of a song, which is contained in its lyrics, without which the rendition becomes imperfect and flat.
The best compliment that you have received so far?
That I look very dignified, well turned up and have a melodious voice.
What's the worst thing that people say about you?
That I often flee from the scene when there is any controversial situation.
What don't you leave home without?
The inevitable traffic jam on the roads bores me out of my wits. So I have this new method of fighting boredom and making the drive more pleasant. I never forget to take the newspaper, my favourite collection of songs, which range from ghazals to oldie goldies.
When was the last time you felt insignificant?
Although you are known to maintain your cool, when was the last time you blew your top?
I feet strongly that our National poet is ill represented. When we talk of our cultural representation we should emphasise that which is our very own. Nazrul is a creative genius. We should proudly present the songs at all important occasions and also during our cultural tours abroad.
What do you never tire shopping for?
Magazines, perfume, artificial jewellery, shoes, groceries and what not.
Interesting fan mail
Once I received a fan mail ---where it was mentioned that he had taped my song Lailee tomaar eshechey phiria on both sides of a cassette which he played throughout the day without fail.
Are you laid back?
I guess most artistes are. I enjoy meeting old friends, calling them over, arrange get togethers and all this is after I finish my routine chores and of course anything that is related to my performance.
Why will your fans not forget you?
That is for them to say. However, deep inside I have a feeling that I have tried to satisfy their thirst by presenting the passionate songs of Nazrul with precision.
What is your opinion on the current trend of making music videos of Nazrul Sangeet?
The trend has both positive and negative aspects. Since the poet himself acted in cinema, I believe there shouldn't be any objection to music videos. However, preference should be given to the total impact of the composition--the lyrics, tune and emotion of the song, everything should be considered and not only in flashy outfits and in a westernised outlook.
Shabnam trains a few students under the Poet Talim Hossain Trust every year, although on an irregular basis. And she emphasises those aspects of Nazrul Sangeet, which, she believes, are 'lyric-based'.
Unlike many others, Shabnam is positive about the zeal she has observed among the young artistes. “Not all the learners are extraordinary,” she explains. “But some are talented, and that is more than enough.”
“The purity of Nazrul Sangeet is much more authenticated now than before,” she claims. “Many records produced during the lifetime of the poet himself have been collected. These have helped a lot in preparing the notations of Nazrul Sangeet properly.”
Shabnam, however, regrets that this practice of purity has become rather Dhaka oriented. “Outside Dhaka, many are teaching wrong tunes completely unknowingly, because often they do not have access to the original tunes,” she says. “Also, in West Bengal, Nazrul Sangeet is being sung in wrong tunes!” she complains. Shabnam, however, names Krishna Majumdar and Sushmita Mukherjee of West Bengal as true followers and practitioners of authentic Nazrul Sangeet.

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